Dream for the nation and the people
Updated: 2013-07-31 07:40
By Zheng Xiwen (China Daily)
Since being raised by President Xi Jinping last November, the phrase "Chinese dream" has become a hot topic of not only domestic, but also global society. Many global figures such as UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon have expressed their best wishes to China on the road toward the realization of its dream. During his meeting with Xi on June 19, Ban Ki-moon said that the realization of the Chinese dream will surely have a far-reaching and positive impact on the United Nations as well as on the international community.
However, certain Western media and opinion leaders, as they always do, have misunderstood the concept. They claim that the Chinese dream emphasizes the State's will but does not pay the same attention to individual rights and interests; thus it is dream of the nation rather than of the people.
Needless to say they do not understand the true meaning of the Chinese dream. Actually, the Chinese dream belongs to both the nation and the people - neither is separable from the other.
Westerners might find it hard to understand the Chinese people's extreme cherishing of national greatness, but China used to be one of the leading powers in the world. However, 1840 marked the beginning of more than a century of humiliation for the country and suffering for the people. It was not until 1949 that China regained full national independence and Chinese citizens could once again stand up straight in the world. Those who are drowning cherish air; national greatness is as valuable to the Chinese people. The nation's rejuvenation is also the pursuit of the Chinese people.
With millenniums of history, the Chinese nation has made lasting contributions to human civilization; but its falling behind the West in the past centuries has cast a shadow over its national pride. The nation's renaissance is clearly defined, as the goal of the whole nation as the people hope that their traditions and culture can gain global influence as before and the country can become a leading member of the family of nations again.
However, the nation's renaissance should also mean a happy life for all, as this is also part of the Chinese dream. China has achieved remarkable economic achievements in recent years, but the living standards of residents can be raised still further. Citizens want to enjoy better education, better incomes, better medical services and more stable social security. The people hope this land can be a better home for them and for their children.
For the Chinese people, all the three above-mentioned pursuits, namely national greatness, the rejuvenation of the nation and happy lives for all are indivisible parts of the one great dream. As a Chinese idiom says: "The river and all its branches have the same level of water." The Chinese people know clearly that a happy life for the individual is only possible with the prosperity of the whole nation.
History teaches the Chinese people an essential lesson: without a strong and mighty nation, the ordinary residents cannot even protect their own lives or fortune. Thus they choose to unite for the common good, which is essential for all.
Today, as China progresses at full speed on all aspects of social construction, as China is regaining a leading role in world governance and the global economy, its people are also benefiting from rising incomes and more convenient social services. All the three parts are within sight, and the people are pursuing them with unprecedented eagerness and fervent enthusiasm.
The lyric of a song best describes the relation of the people and the nation: "The nation is composed of families; each is essential and indivisible." China will continue to push the coordinated development of both the nation and the individual forward, thus realizing the dream of all.
The author is a Beijing-based scholar of international relations.
(China Daily USA 07/31/2013 page11)